The quickly growing city of Winfield is planning a new city park along the Kanawha River after years without one.
Mayor Randy Barrett said he learned last week the city is a finalist for a roughly $150,000 grant from West Virginia American Water that would help build a shelter and playground along Second Street just east of Garfield Street, and near the bridge crossing the river to Red House. He said he thinks the city should know if it’s won by the end of the month.
Barrett said Winfield’s Holiday Park closed decades ago, and while residents use a school-district-owned area behind Winfield Elementary School, the city has no true park of its own.
The city is also working with the state Division of Natural Resources to install public boat ramps off the proposed Winfield City Park. Zack Brown, capital improvements coordinator for DNR, said the project would cost roughly $500,000 to $750,000, 75 percent from federal funds through the Sport Fish Restoration Act and 25 percent from state hunting and fishing license sales.
Brown said the same funding mechanism financed a boat ramp in Nitro that opened in 2012. He said DNR builds such projects as part of its mission to provide public access to the water.
“It’s a high population density in the Kanawha Valley, and there’s an opportunity,” Brown said of the Winfield project. “There’s not too many nondeveloped sites in the Winfield area.”
He said DNR envisions two or more boat ramps and at least enough parking for 50 trucks with boat trailers attached.
“We’re looking at a significant facility,” Brown said.
DNR is looking to lease parking space under the bridge from the state Division of Highways and may need to purchase or lease some private owners’ land for more parking, Brown said. DNR may also need to expand a road so trucks with boat trailers can pass each other. He hopes work will start in the fall of 2015 and be finished by that winter.
The full project, which Barrett estimated will take 3 to 4 acres, also includes converting Winfield’s former police department into a community center and emergency shelter. He said the town council has set aside $50,000 and hopes work on the building — including installing a kitchen, redoing bathrooms and moving walls and windows — begins in August. He didn’t know how much the conversion would ultimately cost.
The town council approved a $5,000 concept plan around April, Barrett said, but much of the timeframe for the new park remains unclear.
Barrett said the city owns most of the land, which includes an existing boat ramp and tennis court that were part of a now-demolished home. The plan includes transforming the tennis court into a basketball court and turning the ramp into a canoe and kayak launch separate from DNR’s new river access.
Reach Ryan Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1254.